In the UK, people with disabilities have an employment rate 31.3% lower than people without disabilities, according to the latest figures on the disability employment gap.
The Access to Work scheme is designed to address this gap by providing support to people in employment in the UK who have a disability or a physical or mental health condition.
Below, we run through some of the questions you might have about what this might mean to you.
1. How can Access to Work help me as someone who is deaf?
If you’re deaf or hard or hearing, you may be eligible to receive an Access to Work grant to cover:
- Communication support at interviews during your job search
- Live captioning in meetings, conference calls and training sessions
- Special equipment for the workplace, such as microphones, textphones or hearing loops
Let’s say, for example, you’re looking for a new job. One day, you find an amazing vacancy, and you’re invited for an interview. Access to Work funding would cover the cost of a sign language interpreter or live captioning to ensure you’re able to follow the questions and impress with your answers.
In your workplace, your employer needs to make certain reasonable adjustments in the workplace to ensure you can carry out your role effectively. But what about the inevitable conference calls, meetings and training courses? Access to Work funding would cover the cost of live captioning and BSL interpreters, giving you equal access to the spoken word.
If you’re more of an ‘I run my own company’ type of person, the same type of support is covered by Access to Work funding, helping you make a success of your own business.
2. How much funding would be available to me?
There is no fixed funding amount, but your individual situation would be assessed and a total recommended to cover the support you need.
From April 2017, Access to Work funding is capped at £57,200 per year. The Government has set this at double the national average annual salary, and the maximum amount is reviewed every year in April.
3. How can I start using Access to Work funding?
You can fill out an Access to Work application form online. You can also get in touch with the Access to Work contact centre by textphone, email or BSL video relay service.
After your initial application, Access to Work will carry out an assessment to verify that you are eligible to receive a grant and recommend support services that would be useful to you.
You can submit your application form up to 12 weeks before your start date. Approval rates are increasing each year, so make sure you get your application in sooner rather than later.
If Access to Work have recommended live captioning for you, they might ask you for details of providers to determine the amount of funding you’ll need each year. Please get in touch for more information on our rates and our Ai-Live captioning service.
4. How long will I receive Access to Work funding for?
Funding is provided on a three-year basis. At the end of this period, your needs will be reassessed to make sure you’re receiving the correct form of support and to renew your grant.
As long as you still need the support, you should continue to get it.
5. Where can I get more help or information?
You can get more information on Access to Work on the UK Government’s website here.
There’s a slightly different system in place for Northern Ireland, and more details can be found on the Northern Ireland Direct website.
We’re more than happy to help with more specific questions about Access to Work funding and our Ai-Live captioning service for the workplace. Please drop us a line.
Do you have questions about making your workplace more accessible?